MARQUETTE, Mich. (WJMN) – Earl Senchuck wants the world to know about an artistic process, which he says opens up a world of possibilities.

“So I had to employ some technique that no one knows about. That’s using a thing called Moulage. It’s a special material that doesn’t stick to anything. I mean I could literally pour it right on his sweater, a raw sweater and get an impression of that and use it as a press mold for sculptural epoxy,” said Senchuk.

From fabric, to wood, even on bare skin, Senchuk says the process allows people to duplicate virtually any texture or shape.

“I don’t know of many epoxy statues sitting out in a city park that have this kind of detail on it. If you can imagine me trying to sculpt the lines in a sweater and the buttons, it would have taken forever.”

The catalyst for this innovation came when Senchuk was commissioned to create a statue honoring the life of Marquette native, Phil Niemisto.

“I had never used the sculptural epoxy in a press mold before and wasn’t sure if it was going to work. So at the time I accepted this commission, I didn’t know if it was going to work or not. I breathed a big sigh of relief when I realized, when the first test piece came out of the mold, I went okay, now I know I can do Phil,” added Senchuk.

The statue was unveiled on October 17, of 2017 with Phil in attendance, but the pieces almost didn’t come together.

Senchuk said, “The day I cast his head was at four o’clock in the morning and the dedication was at three in the afternoon.”

Senchuk created a video detailing the entire process of creating Phil’s statue.

While Phil’s likeness stood guard over the park he had spent years caring for, it would eventually be the thing needing some help.

“So his whole head had to be fitted into the neck, matched to his collar and of course his hat had to go on afterwards. So I didn’t have the time to go through and finish Phil’s head. So for three years he sat here, totally unfinished.”

Between the extreme temperatures of winter, repeated instances of vandalism, even a little affection, the statue of Phil Niemisto had to go away for some repairs. The statue was removed in the Fall of 2019.

“His ear was partly broken off, there were lipstick kisses, smudge marks on him. There were a few fissures that started to develop from the temperature changes. So I just figured it was time to take him in and do him right,” said Senchuk.

Using the technique Earl Senchuck has developed, he says it creates cost saving alternatives for artists.

“Most of the sculptures you’ll see in city parks are bronze. That would be outrageously expensive to do Phil in bronze so I had to go to the next best material. This cost me only $800.00 for the epoxy. So using the combination of permastone and epoxy allowed me to do this style.”

Now the statue has a UV protective coating and a new sealant so it will keep Phil looking good for years to come.